28 November 2009

the pandas are here

It has been a long wait since the announcement in September 2007, but the pandas have finally arrived in Adelaide. From ABC, 28 November 2009, 5pm
Giant pandas arrive in Adelaide

Adelaide's giant pandas are settling into their new home at the local zoo.

The pandas are in their specially built $8 million enclosure at the Adelaide Zoo, where they will spend the next 30 days in quarantine.

Earlier this morning a crowd of about 100 people greeted them at Adelaide Airport and broke into cheers and even tears when their plane touched down.

Wang Wang and Funi's keepers say the animals coped very well with the 12-hour plus trip from Chengdu in southern China.

The CEO of Adelaide Zoo says it is a relief the city's new giant pandas have landed safely on Australian soil.

Chris West says the pandas will be closely monitored.

"We've got sleeping accommodation in the facility, and I'm quite sure we've got two or three staff who'll be there overnight making sure they're fine," he said.

"We've also got lots of cameras, so we'll be watching them to make sure everything is fine."

The public will get its first chance to see the pandas on December 14.

It is expected the pandas will be released into the outdoor part of their enclosure early in the new year.

See also
- Adelaide Zoo
- The Advertiser (Adelaide newspaper) panda supersite

Wang Wang at his new home (Picture: Bryan Charlton)

I will definitely visit Adelaide to see them, in the next ten years.

Meanwhile in other panda news, San Diego zoo's panda cub was named Yun Zi on 17 November.

There are so few pandas left that anything related to them is a big deal. I suspect that less than one per cent of Australians have ever seen a live panda in person. The last (and only time) that pandas were in Australia was for three months in 1988, when two 'visited' Sydney and Melbourne. Other than that, one would have to visit a zoo, which has them, in another country and even then, there are not that many foreign zoos with pandas. Or panda locations in China.

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